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  • Cited by 3
  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: January 2016

8 - The Americanization of the phonology of Asian Englishes: evidence from Singapore

from Part I - English in selected regional and national habitats with a glance at the role of outward-bound communication needs



This chapter seeks to find out if the phonology of Singapore English (SgpE) has been Americanized. This chapter will focus on four pronunciation features in SgpE, namely, the postvocalic-r, taps, the pronunciation of the vowel [æ] in dance, and the vowel [eɪ] in tomato. In order to ascertain if there has been a “shift” or change in the phonology of SgpE, speakers of an older group aged forty and above will be compared with a younger group of speakers who are aged between twenty and twenty-five. The informants for the data also consist of speakers of all three major ethnic groups in Singapore – the Chinese, Malay, and Indians, and a comparison will be made between these three groups to see if any particular ethnic variety of SgpE is more susceptible to Americanization. The results show that some American English (AmE) features are not prevalent across all age and ethnic groups. While it is perhaps not surprising that younger speakers display significantly more AmE features than older speakers, it is interesting to note that the speakers of the Chinese ethnic group are the ones producing more AmE phonological features, as compared to the speakers of the other two ethnic groups. The results on the whole suggest that postcolonial Englishes, such as SgpE, adapt their linguistic features with the force of globalization.